After completing a one-year coach training program, my confidence was at an all-time low and I seriously considered quitting my Life Coaching career.  A part of me was convinced that I was a fool to think I could be a successful life coach.

In 2011, while working as a mortgage loan officer, I had a conversation with a life coach named Carlos Jones.  Some of the things Carlos said inspired me to consider becoming a life coach.  I immediately began researching the possibilities.

I learned about the International Coaching Federation (ICF) whose purpose it is to provide guidelines, values, principles and competencies for the Life Coaching industry.  I called one of schools who offered ICF certifications.  That weekend, I observed part of a training session in Seattle. Convinced that I wanted to complete the training, I started saving the $15,000 that I would need to pay the tuition.

In the meantime, I hired Carlos who coached and trained me over the next three years as I began to work with a few clients.  By 2014, I had enough coaching clients and had saved enough money to cover the cost of the one-year training program.  One weekend per month I traveled to Seattle.  But by the time the training was completed, I had lost all my confidence and was reluctant to find more clients.

During each training weekend, I became “triggered”. I felt discounted, ridiculed, shamed, misunderstood, unappreciated, and humiliated and was unable to get much from the training. I thought about quitting every month. I argued with myself, “if I quit, I will lose my money and lose the opportunity to become a great life coach.”  I had agreed that if I dropped out, I would pay 2 months in tuition. At $1250 per month, the penalty was too painful.  A determined part of me helped dig my heals in and I became even more determined to complete the training.

After graduating from the program, I felt defeated. Rather than feeling accomplished, I felt drained and exhausted. I had just endured a full year of torture  It was clear that if I didn’t work through whatever had prevented me from embracing the training, I would never have the confidence I’d need to build my business. How could I help others to realize their dreams if I hadn’t done it myself?

I called Brenda for a counseling session. She had me talk about the internal conflict I had experienced all year. It was difficult to admit that I had thoughts and feelings at war with each other.  The most dominating thought was that I had just wasted a ton of money and a year of my life.  Another internal voice or “part” was mad as hell at the coach training school and blamed them for my horrible experience. There were several other thoughts and feelings that didn’t exactly agree with the more dominant thoughts. Brenda helped me understand that it is perfectly normal to have conflicting “parts” of ourselves which seem to operate autonomously to influence our decisions and actions and that don’t always agree.

It was a relief to find out I wasn’t crazy. I had a few more sessions with Brenda and eventually regained my confidence and my ability to build my business. She had been using a therapy model called Internal Family Systems (IFS)* which acknowledges our “parts” and listens to what they have to say.

In 2015, I resigned as a mortgage loan officer and became a full time Life Coach. Over time, I developed my own style and methods to help my clients find more power, clarity and direction in their lives. These methods are all inspired by my own personal development journey which includes a few more sessions with Brenda along the way.

Last year, Brenda told me that the same Internal Family Systems training offered to therapists was being offered to life coaches and others in the helping fields. I applied immediately and was accepted in the one-year Level 1 IFS training in Seattle.

As I’ve learned about the IFS model and applied it to myself, I’ve introduced it to my clients who have been getting amazing results. Most of these clients had no idea that they had parts. But after considering some of the following questions, they realized that they, too have a rich and complex inner world.

  • Have you ever thought or said, “There is a part of me that____ and another part that ____?”
  • Have you ever noticed yourself thinking or saying “We should (or shouldn’t)_____?” when referring to yourself?
  • Have you ever argued with yourself?
  • Have you ever made a decision or commitment only to change your mind later?
  • Have you ever said something hurtful to someone and then felt guilt or shame for saying it?
  • Do you ever mentally beat yourself up for things that you do or say?

Internal Family Systems helps us recognize and get curious about parts that influence us when life brings pressure. By becoming curious and interested in our inner world, we can learn from these inner parts. Like children who crave attention, once we listen to our parts, they calm down and become more cooperative.  And rather than fighting us, these parts can become valuable inner resources.

*Internal Family Systems is a therapy model created by Richard Schwartz.  For more information, go to www.IFS-Institute.com


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